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New Saratoga Springs middle school opens its doors after multiple delays

A month into the start of the semester, Lake Mountain Middle School students were able to step into their new school Wednesday morning after a state fire marshal approved its long-anticipated, partial occupancy.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS — A month into the start of the semester, Lake Mountain Middle School students were able to step into their new school Wednesday morning after a state fire marshal approved its long-anticipated, partial occupancy.

Originally, the Saratoga Springs middle school was set to open in August, but district officials announced the school would not be completed by then due to construction delays caused by a wet winter and spring.

On Sept. 9, the school’s opening was further delayed when its occupancy was postponed by a state fire marshal due to the amount of unfinished work, according to school officials.

In a social media post through the school’s Facebook page, Lake Mountain Middle School Principal Mark Whitaker said he was pleased to inform the community about the fire marshal’s clearance after assessing the school’s safety systems and potential hazards.

“We are confident we can provide a safe, engaging learning experience for your students,” he wrote.

Alpine School District spokeswoman Kimberly Bird said there is a wall that separates the finished and unfinished areas of the school.

Work on the school’s kitchen is anticipated to be completed by next week. For the time-being, staff at Vista Heights Middle School will prepare meals for students, according to Bird.

She said the school’s gymnasium will take another month until it’s completed and the auditorium won’t be completed until Christmas break.

Once construction is finished by January, the school will be able to accommodate 1,500 students. Right now it houses about 1,200 students.

“We’re so excited to have kids in the building,” Bird said, adding that the excitement was mutual for students and parents during a school walk-through on Tuesday evening.

Bird thanked parents who’ve had to extend their summer breaks an additional month due to the delay, acknowledging that it’s been trying for everyone.

The new school year began with students using online learning systems and educational services at Vista Heights Middle School satellite buildings.

Contributing: Felicia Martinez